Careers: Interviews
A Chat with MIT Media Lab's Fluid Interfaces Research group: Pattie Maes, Head of Fluid Interfaces & Professor MIT Program in Media Arts and Sciences; Valdemar Danry, Research Assistant at the Fluid Interfaces Group; Pat Pataranutaporn, antidisciplinary technologist/scientist/artist; Joanne Leong, researcher in the Fluid Interfaces Group

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Pattie Maes, Valdemar Danry, Pat Pataranutaporn, and Joanne Leong.

Pattie MaesPATTIE MAES is a professor in MIT's Program in Media Arts and Sciences and until recently the chair of the Media Lab's executive committee. She runs the Media Lab's Fluid Interfaces research group, which does research at the intersection of Human Computer Interaction and Artificial Intelligence for health, wellbeing and learning applications. Maes is also one of the faculty at MIT's center for Neuro-Biological Engineering. She is particularly interested in the topic of "cognitive enhancement", or how immersive and wearable systems can actively assist people with issues such as memory, attention, learning, decision making, communication, wellbeing, and sleep.

Maes is the editor of three books, and is an editorial board member and reviewer for numerous professional journals and conferences. She has received several awards: Time Magazine has included several of her designs in its annual list of inventions of the year; Fast Company named her one of 50 most influential designers (2011); Newsweek picked her as one of the "100 Americans to watch for" in the year 2000; TIME Digital selected her as a member of the "Cyber Elite," the top 50 technological pioneers of the high-tech world; the World Economic Forum honored her with the title "Global Leader for Tomorrow"; Ars Electronica awarded her the 1995 World Wide Web category prize; and in 2000 she was recognized with the "Lifetime Achievement Award" by the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council. She has also received an honorary doctorate from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium and has given several TED talks.

In addition to her academic endeavors, Maes has been an active entrepreneur as co-founder of several venture-backed companies, including Firefly Networks (sold to Microsoft), Open Ratings (sold to Dun & Bradstreet) and Tulip Co (privately held). She is an advisor to several early stage companies, including Earable, Inc, and Spatial, Inc. Prior to joining the Media Lab, Maes was a visiting professor and a research scientist at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab. She holds a bachelor's degree in computer science and a PhD in artificial intelligence from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium.

Valdemar DanryVALDEMAR DANRY is a researcher, artist and tech humanist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is part of the Fluid Interfaces research group at MIT Media Lab led by Professor Pattie Maes, which specializes in designing technology for cognitive enhancement. With his background in philosophy of mind and artificial intelligence, he seeks to explore how the augmented body mediates our identity and experiences of the world not just as something physical but as something which is "lived".

He has worked with international collaborators from MIT, Harvard, Georgia Tech, IBM Research, and University of California, and has exhibited his work at Ars Electronica, IDFA, Electrical Artifacts and at the MIT Museum. His research has been published in impactful journals and conferences like �Nature: Machine Intelligence�, "ACM CHI", "IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications", and "ACM Augmented Humans" with more research under review.


Pat PataranutapornPAT PATARANUTAPORN is an antidisciplinary technologist/scientist/artist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is part of the Fluid Interfaces research group at MIT Media Lab led by Professor Pattie Maes, which specializes in designing on-body technology for human enhancement. Pat's research is at the intersection of biotechnology and wearable computing, specifically at the interface between biological and digital systems.

Pat had worked with global collaborators such a NASA TRISH, IBM Research, Bose, Harvard, UCSB, ASU, NTU, and the Futuristic Research Cluster of Thailand (FREAK Lab) to examine the symbiotic relationships between human and technology. His interdisciplinary research ranges from investigating human-AI interactions, developing wearable lab on the body with programmable bio-digital organ for space exploration, developing machine learning model to detect linguistic markers related to mental health issues, developing, and designing mind-controlled 3D printer.

Pat's research has been published in IEEE, ACM SIGCHI, ACM SIGGRAPH, ACM ISWC, ACM Augmented Humans, Royal Society of Chemistry, etc. He also serves as reviewers and editors for IEEE and ACM publications. Pat's artistic projects had been exhibited at National Museum of Singapore (Singapore), Essex Peabody Museum (USA), London Design Festival (UK), Transmediale Festival (Germany), National Taiwan Science Education Center (Taiwan), IDEA Museum (Arizona), Mesa Arts Center (Arizona), Autodesk Gallery (California), and more.

Pat and his team's projects have been featured on FastCompany, Time, Disruptive Innovation Festival, National Geographic, The Guardian, and UNEP. Pat believes that innovation must converge aesthetics, functionality, and community to create a sustainable future. Pat is the co-founder of several tech startups, and Freaklab (Futuristic Research in Enigmatic and Aesthetics), an open research lab in Thailand focusing on designing the future and beyond.

Joanne LeongJOANNE LEONG is a PhD Student in the Fluid interfaces Group at the MIT Media Lab who is passionate about research in the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). Her recent research examines how AI technologies can be used to synthesize new perspectives, of oneself and others, for self-growth and cognitive augmentation. Her approach involves prototyping novel systems and experiences and evaluating their effects through user studies.

Joanne's work has been published at a number of top-tier HCI conferences, including two best papers in UIST 2016 and TEI 2017 respectively. She has also interned at multiple companies, such as Snap Inc. and Sony. Joanne holds a master's degree in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT, a master's degree in Interactive Media from the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, and a bachelor's degree in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo, Canada.